It's hard to actually define "Day 1" of The Pathway Church. I'm not sure if it's the day that Kelli and I said "yes" to church planting, the day we realized that Tacoma was where God had placed our lives, the first day we went to Tacoma on mission or any of the other major milestones along the way. Either way, I can confidently say that since "Day 1," our biggest and most repeated prayer has been for God to bring life change in Tacoma. As I think back on on our journey, I even remember speaking at Trinity Baptist, our home church in Ada, OK, during my ordination service. I read Romans 10:1... My hearts desire and prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
Well, by the grace of God, it's happened. More accurately, it's happening. Let me give you a few examples.
About 3 years ago we met a single mom with 3 boys. She was in pain. She was coming out of a transitional housing program, was facing more challenges in a day than I think I faced in a life time, but she was looking for hope in the right place... the God who created her. As we walked with her things seemed to take 1 step forward and 3 steps back. But along the way we were able to meet a need a friend of hers had. Now if you were going to make me bet money on which one of them I thought would still be a part of The Pathway today, I'd have guessed the first. But God's ways are not our ways right? Well, over the course of time the single mom pulled back from her creator. But the friend, also a single mom, stuck with Jesus and his church. And her life is radically different.
She struggled for quite some time with her roots as a catholic girl who feared God. She wrestled (and still wrestles) with the difference between belief in God and becoming a follower of his Son Jesus. But she's choosing to follow as she grows. And guess what, she's growing as she follows. In the last several months she has faced an incredibly difficult obstacle in life... but in the midst of it she chose to place her trust in Jesus. She has approached one of our leaders and asked for help discipling her children. She is in a discipleship group with my wife and has even led the group in Kelli's absence. And just recently she has volunteered to play an extremely significant role in multiplying our Intentional Communities. Life Change. Glory to God!
There's another young single mom that connected with our church during September for Tacoma. She too wrestled with the difference between belief in God and being a follower of his Son Jesus. She had a difficult past and had been baptized multiple times. Trying to find forgiveness and hope, she kept falling back into her old life. But then she met Jesus! I mean, really met him. To see the hunger in her eyes, the change in her life has been incredible. She is a missionary to the people she lives with. She is passionately pursuing what it means to be a godly mom. She is embracing community, accountability and discipleship. And just this week we asked her to be one of the first Pathway missionaries to go global on a short term trip to South Africa. It was amazing to see the fear in her eyes almost immediately overcome by faith. And then to read the text she sent Kelli this morning letting us know that she wanted to pursue this opportunity that God had obviously put in front of her. Life Change. Glory to God.
Then there's a young man who came to faith in Christ very recently. He too wrestled with his catholic background and particularly the strong religious ties of his family. He finally professed faith in Jesus but when it came time to be baptized he showed up at the service still not sure that he could go through with it. Even though we know baptism doesn't save, you could see the beauty of this ordinance as he wrestled with this tangible demonstration of faith that would be a solidifying moment in his walk with Jesus. When he finally chose to publicly proclaim his faith in Jesus, it was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever been a part of. As he came up from the water he threw his hands in the air. He was balling. The congregation was cheering. The kingdom is growing. Life Change. Glory to God.
As we approach Kid-City Kick-off, please join us in praying for life change. Church growth is great. But without changed lives it's only an earthly accomplishment. We are praying for the kingdom of God to grow & that happens through the radical transformation of lives by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit! Glory to God!!!